Trelka Management Training and Consulting

Creating Confident Managers and Engaged Teams

Scarcity in Management and Supervision

What is a scarcity mentality and how does it related to management and supervision?

A scarcity mentality is a belief that there is a limited supply of some resource. It is a belief that where one person gains another must lose. I have seen a lot of supervisors and managers who demonstrate a scarcity mentality when it comes to giving praise and recognizing the contributions of others. These managers feel threatened due to their own insecurities.

Do you believe that if somebody else comes up with a better idea or receives the recognition that it diminishes your contributions?

There is a level of emotional insecurity that belies the belief that when someone benefits somebody else loses.

If you are secure in your abilities and contributions then you should never feel threatened when somebody else achieves something that exceeds what you have contributed.

The scarcity mentality is destructive not just to the individual manager or supervisor but also to the team. Believing that another’s gain is a loss puts you in a competitive situation with your fellow managers and subordinates that is damaging to relationships and team cohesion.

If you believe that to get ahead you need to take ownership for all good ideas you will stifle your team. It will cause them to withdraw and not contribute. An atmosphere of distrust will develop that will undermine your ability to lead effectively.

How do you overcome a scarcity mentality?

First, you need to realize that there isn’t a limited amount of recognition that is available. The ability to recognize and to be recognized is unlimited. Just because somebody else has a good idea doesn’t mean it takes anything away from you.

Also, you need to recognize that if somebody on your team comes up with a great idea or innovation it will benefit everybody on the team including you.

Second, embrace and show support for those who bring innovative ideas to the team. As a leader, you will get more recognition if you lead a team that continually contributes innovated ideas no matter who comes up with them. Leaders who encourage and recognize innovation will succeed far more than those who do not.

Third, understand that one good idea generally leads to another good idea. Instead of a lack of something, there is a true abundance. You can build off the ideas of others to come up with something even more beneficial. Remember to give credit to the originator of the idea that you used as your jumping off point.

Finally, get over yourself. Put your own ego aside. Have a genuine appreciation for the ideas others bring to the team. Being part of an engaged team that is trying to improve the organization should be exciting. Take it as a badge of honor that you have people working with you who care enough to share their ideas. Be a manager or supervisor that inspires people by recognizing their good ideas and contributions.

A scarcity mentality only creates division, destructive competition, and distrust. It leads to people pulling back and not contributing to the greater success of the team.

Let go of your insecurities and realize that the world is infinitely abundant. We all have something to contribute and there is no limit to the amount of recognition that is available. By celebrating the contributions of others, we create a workplace that inspires and encourages innovation.

Recognize that you are abundant, your workplace is abundant, and the world we live in is abundant. What is good for others is good for you and vice versa. Be thankful for others. Their contributions will lead to your success if you open yourself to the possibilities of abundance.

2 Comments

  1. Great article. I hope managers take heed. I work in a situation where it’s best to pull back and keep your mouth shut. It’s a waste of time and energy to change it. The end result will be that all will lose there jobs over arrogance.

    • Gary, thank you for taking time to read the post. I am sorry to hear that you work in an environment that isn’t open to allowing employee input. A good manager should be interested in hearing what their people have to say. We may not always agree with everything but we have to be willing to listen and consider different viewpoints. I have found that the negative situations like the one you described are the product of a manager who is insecure in his own abilities and position.

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